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Benefits of Physiotherapy post COVID-19: Exercise may improve breathing, mobility says experts

Experts say that COVID-19 patients require physiotherapy to improve breathing and mobility. Here's how physiotherapy helps patients post-discharge.

Experts say that COVID-19 patients require physiotherapy to improve breathing and mobility. Here's how physiotherapy helps patients post-discharge.

Coronavirus, the virus that spreads the disease COVID-19, has wreaked havoc and upended our lives. The deadly disease is an acute respiratory condition that attacks the respiratory tracts and reaches deeper into the lungs. When your body spots the virus, your immune system starts attacking its own cells and causes symptoms like cough, fever, breathlessness, etc.

Media has reported that people have started seeking natural treatment to prevent and treat coronavirus. Though there is little known about the role of natural treatments in treating COVID-19 patients, physiotherapy is playing a pivotal role in all the ICUs and COVID wards.

Physiotherapy May Help COVID-19 Patients Post-Discharge

Experts have suggested that physiotherapy may help coronavirus patients to improve their oxygen uptake and keep them mobile in with exercises.

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Physiotherapy helps people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiotherapy, cardiorespiratory physiotherapy helps to manage acute and chronic respiratory conditions. It helps in improving physical recovery following an acute illness.

Shortness of breath is one of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19, and patients might need external procedures to improve oxygen uptake. With the aid of physiotherapy, the high oxygen requirement goes down, so doctors are using it to control the outcome.

Physiotherapy Helps Patients With Breathing And Become Mobile

Dr Raziya Nagarwala, Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physiotherapist from Sancheti Institute of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, said, "We are working in close association with other specialists. Our exercises help them to expel the mucus out of their body through cough in such a way that they don't have to be dependent on external procedures. But in some critically-ill-patients, we are working alongside ENT specialists to suction out the mucus out of the patient's body by using the catheter."

Some coronavirus patients are developing something called 'post-intensive care syndrome,' which is characterised by the hampering of physical abilities, cognitive functions, and physiological well-being. Experts mention that it is here that physiotherapists are assisting people even post-discharge.

"We have cases where ICU patients used to see breathlessness even by walking two steps. But, with the physiotherapy, they are learning techniques for getting the strength to become mobile again. Our progressive exercise protocol is helping these patients to overcome the weakness and fatigue post-discharge," said Dr Sourabh Sane, a physiotherapist with city-based fitness start-up, HealYos.

Mobility Exercises Vital For COVID Patients

The road to recovery for some coronavirus patients may take more time than imagined. In severe cases, some patients are completely immobile. Experts have also seen that some COVID-19 patients do not die because of the disease, but because of immobility which causes deep vein thrombosis.

Arteries help carry the blood from the heart to your organs, and veins send it back to your heart. When this process is disrupted, or there is damage inside a blood vessel, the blood cells stick together and form a clot. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that mainly forms in your leg or pelvis, but it can get in your arm or shoulder too.

Experts recommend mobility exercises for critical patients like pregnant women, children and patients with comorbidities. For patients with a mild infection, exercises like climbing straits are recommended to improve lung capacity.

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